New Year’s at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta provides rich and rewarding experience
Colorful handcrafted cloth hangings decorate the Balaji and Siva Temples, and the alankarams (ornamentation) of deities included ornate finery. (Photos: Mahadev Desai)
Despite rain and cold weather, thousands of devotees and visitors from all over Southeast thronged the Hindu Temple of Atlanta (HTA) Riverdale, Georgia on Sunday, January 1st, 2013 to celebrate a joyous and spiritual Navodaya 2013 festival. Visitors participated in prayers and chanting, shopping at numerous vendor booths, and getting information from several nonprofit organizations. Many kinds of delicious South Indian dishes were served, and children enjoyed quizzes on the Ramayana and Mahabharata as well as a Ravana balloon dart game, mehendi, and much more festive fun.
After a morning ceremony in the banquet hall, priest Sri Ravishankar performs another in the auditorium, chanting shlokas and conferring his blessings for the New Year to the vendors.
Newly elected President Narender Reddy commented that “devotees started arriving early in the day and the flow continued till 9 pm. More than 5,000 devotees receiving the blessings of Sri Venkateshwara and Sri Ramalingeshwara on New Year’s Day.” He noted that the efficiency and courtesy of the volunteers ensured quick archana (chanting the names of the Deity) and service at the food counters. Thanks to the efforts of Aravind Goli, Meher Lanka, and Rajyalaxmi Mohan many vendors participated. B.Krishnamohan organized a shuttle service for additional parking. Seshu Sarma and her volunteers, with the help of kitchen staff, prepared delicious food that won the appreciation of one and all. Subbiah Emani and Symala Naidu organized puja services. Jay Shankar, Mani, and Raghu worked late nights to keep additional internet terminals working to provide faster services and ensure a flawless event. Krishna Das, Ashok Kumar, Krishna Mohan Pinnamaneni, and Hemanth Grandhige to name a few, also rendered commendable service to the devotees.
Youth volunteers smile as they prepare for their work in the Banquet Room.
The Hindu Temple, an iconic landmark in Riverdale, Georgia, is well known for its spiritual, cultural, and educational services to the Indian community. The Temple has played a sterling role in enriching the religious diversity and enhancing the multicultural image of Georgia.
Youth volunteer Anjali Kumar coordinated activities, and volunteers included Ambika Pisharodi, Usha Kumar, Usha Swamy, Veena Rajeevan, Pushkara Chaganti, Vishwa Chaganti, Radha Panchapakesan, Kiran Iyer, and Ashokkumar Ramamoorthy.
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